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A Journal on Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation after Pathological Events

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (SIMFER), European Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (ESPRM), European Union of Medical Specialists - Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine Section (UEMS-PRM), Mediterranean Forum of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (MFPRM), Hellenic Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (EEFIAP)
In association with International Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (ISPRM)
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  RETURN TO DRIVING AFTER TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY - Part II Guest Editors: Bruno Gradenigo, Anna Mazzucchi

Europa Medicophysica 2002 March;38(1):19-24

language: English

Final certifications for car driving licence. Present and future of European regulation

Costanzo A.

From ­the Orthopaedics ­and Traumatology “La Sapienza” University, Rome Inter-Ministerial Technical Committee on Transportation-Health Medical Consultant of ­the Automobile Club of Italy


European reg­u­la­tions con­cern­ing ­the ­issue of driv­ing licenc­es fol­low 2 con­nect­ed prin­ci­ples: to guar­an­tee ­the ­free cir­cu­la­tion of cit­i­zens and to guar­an­tee traf­fic safe­ty. The ­first ­goal ­has ­been pur­sued, in ­the ­sphere of ­the “European Community driv­ing ­licence”, ­through ­full rec­og­ni­tion of ­the valid­ity of driv­ing licenc­es includ­ing ­those ­issued by dif­fer­ent mem­ber ­states, ­thus elim­i­nat­ing ­the ­need to con­vert ­the ­licence ­itself on trans­fer­ring res­i­dence to a dif­fer­ent EU ­state. The strin­gent ­need to in ­any ­case ­ensure traf­fic safe­ty ­has ­made it nec­es­sary—in ­order ­for recip­ro­cal rec­og­ni­tion to be accept­ed—to ­fix a min­i­mum ­basis of com­mon ­rules gov­ern­ing ­the ­issue ­and reten­tion of driv­ing licenc­es. The com­mon ­rules con­sid­er ­some ­basic ele­ments: ­age lim­its ­for ­each ­type of ­licence, phys­i­cal fit­ness to ­drive, theo­ret­i­cal ­and prac­ti­cal knowl­edge ­required to ­drive ­and capa­bil­ity of manoeu­vring ­the vehi­cle, in rela­tion to ­the ­type of ­licence ­applied ­for, ­these ­being sub­di­vid­ed ­into a pre­de­ter­mined ­and uni­form ­series of “class­es”. The com­mon ­basis of reg­u­la­tions con­sists of EC Directive 91/439 dat­ed 29th July 1991, ­which estab­lished ­the min­i­mum require­ments ­for ­the ­issue ­and reten­tion of a driv­ing ­licence. The con­tent of ­this Directive ­was fur­ther devel­oped by EC Directive 2000/56 dat­ed September 14th 2000, ­which ­must be imple­ment­ed by mem­ber ­states by ­the ­end of 2003. It ­should be not­ed ­that obtain­ing a driv­ing ­licence is sub­ject to ­the pos­ses­sion of min­i­mum require­ments in ­terms of psy­cho­phys­i­cal capa­bil­ity. Driving licenc­es ­may ­not be ­issued to per­sons affect­ed by phys­i­cal or men­tal dis­eas­es or organ­ic def­i­cit or men­tal, ana­tom­i­cal or func­tion­al hand­i­caps ­that pre­clude ­their capa­bil­ity to ­drive a vehi­cle in safe­ty. The Italian Highway Code ­and ­the Regulations ­that com­ple­ment it ­fix 2 lev­els ­for ascer­tain­ing psy­cho­phys­i­cal fit­ness to ­drive. This eval­u­a­tion ­may be car­ried ­out (Art. 119, Comma 2 of ­the Highway Code) by an indi­vid­u­al doc­tor. However, ­when ­this doc­tor ­must eval­u­ate par­tic­u­lar con­di­tions, list­ed in ­the reg­u­la­tions, or in ­the ­case of sub­jects ­above a spe­cif­ic ­age, or ­when spe­cif­ic labor­a­to­ry ­tests ­must be eval­u­at­ed, ­such eval­u­a­tion ­must be per­formed by a Medical Commission. With ­regard to psy­cho­phys­i­cal require­ments, ­the European reg­u­la­tions dis­tin­guish 2 “class­es” of driv­ing licenc­es, ­one of ­which ­has ­more strin­gent require­ments ­than ­the oth­er: Group 1, includ­ing licenc­es A, B, B+E ­and ­their sub­class­es; Group 2, includ­ing licenc­es C, C+E, D, D+E. These reg­u­la­tions do ­not ­take ­into ­account ­the spe­cif­ic modal­ities ­for eval­u­a­tion, ­but ­define ­the min­i­mum require­ments ­for ­the rel­e­vant param­e­ters: ­sight, hear­ing, loco­mo­tor ­system. They ­also ­define ­the admis­sibil­ity of dis­eas­es of ­the car­di­o­vas­cu­lar ­system, ­use of ­drugs or med­i­cines, alco­hol­ism, as ­well as ­the impor­tance of neu­ro-psy­chic dis­ease, kid­ney dis­eas­es ­and dia­betes. Medical exam­ina­tion is nei­ther implic­it ­nor oblig­a­to­ry, ­since eval­u­a­tion meth­ods ­may be deter­mined by indi­vid­u­al ­states; nev­er­the­less, eval­u­a­tion by a med­i­cal doc­tor is ­the cho­sen Italian meth­od, ­both ­for ­the ­initial ­issue of ­the ­licence ­and—­since driv­ing licenc­es ­are ­not val­id ­for an unlim­it­ed peri­od ­but ­have a dura­tion var­y­ing ­between 3 ­and 10 ­years—on ­the occa­sion of sub­se­quent renew­als. The require­ments in ­terms of tech­ni­cal capa­bil­ity to ­drive ­and ­the pro­ce­dures to eval­u­ate ­this ­were clear­ly ­defined in Directive 91/439. On ­the con­trary, eval­u­a­tion of psy­cho­phys­i­cal capa­bil­ity—­apart ­from require­ments in ­terms of ­sight—­are ­only ­defined in gen­er­al ­terms, del­e­gat­ing to ­the indi­vid­u­al ­states ­the meth­ods to be ­used, except­ing ­that a pre­ven­tive med­i­cal exam­ina­tion is ­required ­for driv­ing licenc­es in Group 2. Only ­with ­the sub­se­quent Directive 2000/56 ­was great­er pre­ci­sion ­reached ­with ­regard to cer­tain ­types of dis­abil­ity, at ­least estab­lish­ing uni­form “codes” ­with ­which to indi­cate ­the fit­ting ­required ­and ­the lim­its pre­scribed, ­even ­with ­regard to ­the ­times at ­which driv­ing is per­mit­ted (­night/­day) or to ­the ­area with­in ­which ­the sub­ject ­may ­drive or ­the max­i­mum ­speed. In ­any ­case, ­the modal­ities ­through ­which ­the spe­cif­ic lim­its ­and fit­tings ­are to be indi­cat­ed ­are ­the pre­rog­a­tive of indi­vid­u­al ­states, to be spec­i­fied at ­the ­time of “imple­men­ta­tion” ­the Directive.

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